Sexually transmitted diseases or STD are diseases or infections that are passed in the process of sexual intercourse. Some of these infections can only be passed through sex while some others can be transmitted through various means well. STDs can affect both men and women, and that is why people are advised to make use of condoms if total abstinence is not possible.
The severity of these diseases or infections varies, and while some are completely treatable, some others can only be managed, meaning it never leaves the body. It is very important that people are aware of what STDs are and how it affects that as it would ensure that they take proper prevention and know what to do if they test positive for STDs.
Before we begin, it is also important to note that only a doctor can properly diagnose an STD and is also the best person that can prescribe treatment for you.
Today, we would be looking at some of the common sexually transmitted diseases in Nigeria.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus or simply HIV, is one of the common STDs here in Nigeria. HIV can be passed through various means, such as coming in contact with the blood of an infected person, but sexual intercourse still remains one of the common ways the disease is passed. HIV currently has no cure but it can be better managed these days and rarely progresses to AIDS. One report stated that there are 1?7 million people living with HIV in Nigeria.
HIV damages the immune system, making the body vulnerable to other diseases. Since the body cannot fight these diseases, an individual with HIV may be sick most of the time. But these days, thanks to advancements in science, there are drugs that people take to boost the immune system and contain the spread of the virus. This allows the person to live a healthy and normal life without complications. But for that to happen, it is best to get diagnosed early, so that one can begin managing the disease early. One of the most important things to do after having unprotected sex with an infected person is to take PEP.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) or herpes, is another common sexually transmitted disease in Nigeria. There are two strains of the virus; HSV-1 and HSV-2. The most common symptom of herpes is the appearance of sores in parts of the body, especially the genitals, as is the case with HSV-2. These sores, which are always painful, often dry out on their own. The sores are also likely to reoccur but with less pain.
Like HIV, HSV has no cure, but there are treatment options that help prevent outbreaks of sores.
Gonorrhoea is an STD that often comes without symptoms. In 1989, it was reported that gonorrhea was one of the most common STDs in Nigeria. This means that one may have the disease without knowing, and could go on spreading it without knowledge. That is why frequent testing is very important if you have a very active sexual life. Sometimes, gonorrhoea has symptoms, which include frequent itching around the genitals, frequent urination, sore throat, coloured discharge from the vagina or penis, and so on.
If gonorrhoea is left unattended, it could lead to infertility, infections around the prostate or testicles.
Syphilis is another infection that does not show symptoms in the early stages. But the common symptoms include rash, fatigue, fever, headaches, joint pain, weight loss, and hair loss. If left untreated, it could lead to heart disease, loss of vision, hearing loss, mental illness, and so on. Early detection leads to early treatment, which reduces the extent of damage it does to the body.
Chlamydia is aused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, this STI affects both male and female and can lead to back and abdominal pain if not treated. A 2014 study showed that Chlamydia was one of the most common STDs in Nigeria. Chlamydia can also be prevented by not sharing sex toys.
There are many common STDs in Nigeria. However, they can be prevented by abstinence, practicing safe sex, sticking to one sexual partner, and regular checkups.